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More than 50 pieces of debris remain in space after India destroyed its own satellite in March

the United States Air Force
the European Space Agency
the US Air Force’s
18th Space Control Squadron
Defence Research and Development Organisation
The Air Force
the Air Force’s
Joint Force Space Component Command
the Space Intel Report
The 18th Space Control Squadron

Mission Shakti
G. Satheesh Reddy
Cody Chiles
Jonathan McDowell
Jim Bridenstine


Operation Burnt Frost

the International Space Station

the United States

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But ASAT tests further contribute to this traffic and might even create pieces of debris that are too tiny to track.India did try to minimize the effects of the test by targeting a satellite that was in a relatively low orbit above Earth — just 186 miles (300 kilometers) up. But the collision caused some pieces to jump to higher orbits than the original satellite, and it even put pieces in the same general path as the International Space Station, which orbits at 250 miles (400 kilometers) and currently has six astronauts on board.That’s just the nature of these kinds of tests, according to Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard who has been tracking the debris with data from the Air Force. “And that kind of activity is not compatible with the future of human spaceflight.” Many companies within the aerospace community also condemned India’s ASAT test, citing potential danger to spacecraft in orbit.Now, more than 130 days later, there are still more than 50 pieces of debris from India’s ASAT test currently being tracked by the US Air Force, according to Maj. Chiles.

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